by asking questions

Potter John

Member
UK English
Ciao a tutti

How does one express the concept of achieving something by doing something else please?

For example
You will learn by asking questions.

I made my fortune by selling a unique service

He got where he is by always trying to please the right people.

We amused ourselves by throwing pebbles into the lake.

Thank you in anticipation

John
 
  • uinni

    Senior Member
    Italy, Italian
    In italian you use "il gerundio presente" (present tense of gerund).

    Impari chiedendo
    Ho fatto fortuna vendendo un servizio unico
    E' arrivato dov'è arrivato [yes you have to repeat it :D ] cercando di compiacere sempre le persone giuste
    Ci siamo divertiti lanciando ciottoli nel lago.

    BUT there is a BUT (as always happens :D)
    In all these expressions there is an ambiguity for gerund is usually used to express an action that keeps going on while another is taking place.
    So you could also interpret the sentences above as you had written:

    Ho fatto fortuna mentre vendevo un servizio unico
    E' arrivato dov'è arrivato mentre cercava di compiacere sempre le persone giuste
    Ci siamo divertiti mentre lanciavamo ciottoli nel lago.

    Context can help to discern, though.

    Uinni.
     

    Potter John

    Member
    UK English
    Thanks for your prompt reply Uini.

    Just to clarify,

    Taking this scenario :- I am sitting by the lake and a friend asks "Che stai facendo"

    Could I reply "Mi sto divertendo lanciando ciottoli nel lago."

    John
     

    uinni

    Senior Member
    Italy, Italian
    Well, in the present tense the correct form with divertirsi (in the example you reported) requires:

    gerund of divertirsi + a + infinite of the verb

    "Mi sto divertendo a lanciare ciottoli nel lago".
    But you could say as well (in that context):
    "Mi diverto lanciando/a lanciare ciottoli nel lago" (bear in mind that in Italian we do not use the present continuous that much -which is rendered by the present gerund anyway).

    Actually, I do not know whether your version is grammatically correct or not. But it sounds odd to me (for the two consecutive gerunds).

    But with other verbs you can certainly use it:
    [egli] Sta salendo arrampicandosi sulle funi.
    [egli] Sale arrampicandosi sulle funi.

    (and no other verb for which this two-consecutive-gerunds sounds strange comes to my mind at the moment :()

    Hope somebody has a grammatical recipe that can help you!
     

    Potter John

    Member
    UK English
    Yes, it sounds strange to me too (the two consecutive gerunds) that's why I thought it best to ask.

    "Mi sto divertendo a lanciare ciottoli nel lago" sounds much better. Many thanks.

    John
     
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